Evan Nabavian will be battling Stalley live on UHF

In a coup for investigative journalism, I’ve obtained a copy of Meek Mill’s “2011 Maybach Music Group Weed Carriage Employment Agreement”. I know it’s authentic because it’s on MMG letterhead and because I got it from Gunplay in exchange for a mason jar of cocaine — don’t worry, it was just my bro’s weightlifting chalk. Aside from industry standard weed carriage terms, the contract has quirks like “Meek Mill will procure an ice cream sandwich within one hour and fifteen minutes of any request made by Rick Ross” (for those curious, the contract allows Chipwiches, but NOT Klondike bars). Weirder still: “In the absence of Wale and Teedra Moses, Meek Mill will appear in costume as Princess Leia to Rick Ross’ Jabba the Hutt at the annual MMG Halloween party.” Hashtag Dreamchasers.

The real gems, however, are in Exhibit A, “MMG Weed Carriage Benefits Summary,” which begin to reveal how Ross has succeeded where so many rappers have failed, namely in parlaying his success into the success of rappers who carry his drugs. MMG’s reign wasn’t a given. Nobody took Triple C’s seriously, least of all Nielsen SoundScan and a sneering 50 Cent. But we have all learned not to underestimate Rick Ross.

Just as he convinced rap audiences that an erstwhile corrections officer was a Miami drug kingpin, Ross crowed about how great his piece-of-shit record label was until we believed him. Chalk it up to charisma, brand adjacency, or daresay genuine talent on the part of his cohort. Maybe Ross cashed in on one of the favors Noriega owed him. Whatever the case, it worked. Eventually, we didn’t even question Ross when he signed Omarion.

Some artists falter when they start trying to answer fans’ expectations with Hollywood sequels to their earlier work. I would have expected this of Meek Mill, whose core audience was satisfied with rote gangster rap lyrics and a sometimes above average flow. But fame suits him. His confidence shows on his new street single where he vaults between staccato darts and sing-song bragging. It’s hard not to get swept up in his exhilaration on “Off the Corner” and picture yourself with your own empire built on perico and baking soda. He sounds like Young Thug toned down to more palatable levels and he can rap a lot better.

Per the contract, Meek gets to choose from Ross’ premium selection of beats. A greedier boss would have kept the trap mafioso beat for himself. Instead Rozay fulfills another obligation as liege lord and lumbers onto the track for a memorable guest verse. If Meek is confident, Ross is autocratic. He counters Meek Mill’s high-pitched voice with his familiar baritone. He doesn’t try to rap faster than anyone because he doesn’t need to. He signs off with a gibe befitting his assumed status: “NASDAQ hustle, bitch, come get your ass some stocks.”

It defies logic, but the champagne continues to flow as surely as the garage swells with Ferraris. Meek Mill climbs to new levels, pending jail time notwithstanding, and the crew adds exciting new talent like Tracy T. Maybach Music Group is the most valuable tag your can put on your wares in the rap world. Or so Rick Ross tells me.

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!